Personal health records aid well-child care

October 23, 2013

Parents who use integrated personal health records (PHRs) are more likely to bring their children to recommended well-child care visits and, possibly, to adhere to recommended immunization schedules, according to a new retrospective study.

 

Parents who use integrated personal health records (PHRs) are more likely to bring their children to recommended well-child care visits and, possibly, to adhere to recommended immunization schedules, according to a new retrospective study.

PHRs are online tools that enable parents to perform multiple tasks, which often include viewing parts of their children’s medical records (eg, immunizations and postvisit instructions), managing appointments, refilling prescriptions, checking lab results, and communicating with health care providers.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente (KP) looked at immunizations and well-child care visits for about 7,000 children who were aged from 31 days to 2 years in 2 of their regions: KP Hawaii and KP Northwest. The children had to be continuously enrolled for 2 years between 2007 and 2011 to be included.

The investigators found that parents in both regions who used at least 1 of the features on their PHR system (compared with none) were about twice as likely to attend 6 or more well-child care visits by the time their children were aged 15 months. Those in the Northwest were actually 2.5 times as likely.

However, an effect on adherence to recommended immunization schedules was not as pronounced. Using at least 1 PHR feature only made a significant difference on adherence to recommended immunizations in 1 region: KP Northwest. Those parents were 1.2 times as likely as those who didn’t use Kaiser’s PHR to adhere to recommendations. The results in Hawaii were statistically nonsignificant.

The US Department of Health and Human Services provides free information for developing pediatric and child health friendly PHRs on its website

 

To get weekly clinical advice for today's pediatrician, subscribe to the Contemporary Pediatrics eConsult.